HC Deb 13 May 1994 vol 243 c445

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

9.51 am
Mr. James Couchman (Gillingham)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. After so many points of order, I regret asking you to deal with a completely fresh point of order. We have your list of selection of amendments for this morning. When I first saw it, I thought that there had been a typographical error in so far as none of the new clauses had been selected. Of course, I understand that you have absolute discretion in what shall be discussed, but I must ask you why none of the new clauses has been selected, especially new clause 3, which stands in my name.

New clause 3 calls for a report from the Secretary of State for Health on any voluntary agreement which may be either in negotiation or signed between the Department and the industry. I understand that the matter was not discussed at any stage in Committee. It seems to be a substantial and important new clause. Indeed, this morning would perhaps allow the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to make a statement on the state of negotiations with the industry as reached late last night.

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. New clause 3 goes to the heart of the Bill because it raises the question whether we should proceed by voluntary agreement. That is a philosophical point, and it is the reason why I oppose the Bill. I simply wonder whether there is any other group of amendments on which we might raise the subject of voluntary agreements because it is central to what we are talking about. The Government are in the midst of negotiating a voluntary agreement—apparently, they finished their negotiations last night—so it is absolutely central to the Bill.

Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North)

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

Order. There is no need for a further point of order. The House should already know that the Speaker never gives reasons for the non-selection of new clauses or amendments. However, the hon. Gentlemen who have raised points of order might look at the new clause again and see whether they feel that it is consistent with the Bill as it passed through the House on Second Reading. That is the only response that I shall give.

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